Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 6, Number 3, September, 1996 Page: 132
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
Another class of men, the land speculators, including men like Robert Robson,
William Jefferson Jones, and Robert H. Tobin, spent the era no less fervently committed
to their goals than the ministers, nor indeed, even than the Sons of Temperance. Some of
the deals they made were staggeringly complicated. Jones arrived too late to secure a land
grant on the river. Nonetheless, through a series of maneuvers, and without expending a
great deal of money, he ended up with a large part of the league of land that had been granted
to John Byrne in 1831. Jones originally purchased the land, three-fourths of the league
(more than 3300 acres), at a sheriff's sale for a total of $4.83 on March 2, 1846. Byrne
himself had been assessed the taxes, then declared delinquent, and, in accordance with the
law, he was given one year to redeem the property. He failed to do so and, on March 17,
1847, Jones was given title.31
Neither Jones nor the tax collecter apparently knew that some ten years earlier,
Byrne had conveyed the land to Sumner Bacon, and that Bacon, on February 18, 1837, had
sold it to Alexander C. and Thomas J. Henderson. The Hendersons had apparently held the
land for the intervening decade, but never developed or settled on it. They would shortly
make their interest known. On June 1, 1849, Jones worked out a deal with the Hendersons,
purchasing their interest in the land. Something, however, apparently went awry, for the
Hendersons sued. Six months later, on January 24, 1850, the United States District Court
in Galveston declared that Byrne had forfeited the land by abandoning the country "during
the struggle for the Independence of Texas, for the purpose of evading a participation in
it," and that therefore the chain of sales by which the Hendersons had acquired it was
invalid. Jones, who had purchased the certificate for one league and one labor that had been
issued to Patrick O. Daugherty on September 1, 1848 for $400, immediately moved to use
it to acquire the land. The land office granted him one-half league in Daugherty's name
within the original Byrne Survey on August 20, 1850.32
of the lodge and was responsible for naming it, after his birthplace, Caledonia, Missouri. The local masons go
on to state that, curiously, Jones was not present at the organizational meeting on February 18, 1850, nor was
he a member when the lodge was formally chartered, on January 24, 1851. Those present at the organizational
meeting include Edward J. Bonzano, James M. Daniels, Thomas W. Harris, Archibald McNeill, John F. Miller,
George Obrecht, Robert Robson, Robert H. Tobin, Asa Townsend, and Joseph Worthington Elliott Wallace.
When the charter was approved, William Alley, Samuel Crabtree, Caleb Claiborne Herbert, John Mackey,
Daniel Miller, William B. Perry, John H. Robson, E. F. Strippleman, Hugh Wilson, and Cleveland Windrow
had joined them (see Centennial Celebration Commemorating the One Hundredth Anniversaries of the Charter
Dates of Hubert Lodge No. 67, A. F. & A. M. of Chapel Hill, Texas and Caledonia Lodge No. 68, A. F. & A.
M. of Columbus, Texas).
31 Colorado County Deed Records, Book F, p. 144.
32 Colorado County Deed Records, Book E, pp. 575-576, Book F, pp. 246-247, Book G, p. 431, Book
J, p. 361; Judgement of the United States District Court, Thomas J. and Alexander C. Henderson v. James C.
Abell and William J. Jones, Original Land Grant Collection, Colorado 1-82, Archives and Records Division,
Texas General Land Office, Austin. To add insult to injury, for 1849, the Hendersons were assessed state and
county taxes amounting to $10 on the three-fourths of a league they claimed they owed. Naturally enough, after
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 6, Number 3, September, 1996, periodical, September 1996; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151398/m1/20/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.